Friday, January 21, 2022

The Essentials of Aroma: Olfactory, Flavor and Fragrance (All Natural Perfumery, # 2) Lancôme

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The Essentials of Aroma is the second volume of perfumery information by Abigail Houston. Released 15th Dec 2021, it's 48 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free.

The author has compiled information about olfactory sense and function from a fair number of other sources, with source credits and links throughout and at the back of the book. This is much less a tutorial how-to than an overview over general information and philosophy of scent and function. This volume has a "foody" slant and includes some tips and tricks for combining odors which are associated with taste.

The blurb states that the author has included "40 plus blends to practice your skills". The blends listed for well known perfumes are just a list of the top, middle, and base notes of each perfume (which you can get from an online search) without any ingredients or ratios listed. The parfumiers listed are also an odd assortment. I can see including Chanel, Schiaparelli, and Lancôme, but am bemused by the authors inclusion of Axe Dark Temptation and Avon's Elite Gentleman Reserve into that lofty company. 

Nevertheless, this is a readable, accessible, and friendly overview. I could see it being a useful starting point for crafters who are interested in learning to recognize and blend scents. There are some odd inclusions and substitutions on the author's part, for example she suggests marjoram as a substitute for oakmoss (which is an allergen and generally not used in modern perfumery due to concerns about safety and sustainability), and only mentions ambergris once and orris root not at all.

Three and a half stars. There are quite a lot of good links included at the back of the book for further reading. Probably worth a look for KU subscribers.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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